World

Mike Pence: Working With Allies to Put Pressure on North Korea

US vice president Mike Pence waves to US and Japanese service members on the flight deck of the USS Ronald Reagan, a Nimitz-class nuclear-powered super carrier, at the US naval base in Yokosuka, south of Tokyo, Japan April 19, 2017. Credit: Reuters/Kim Kyung-Hoon

US vice president Mike Pence waves to US and Japanese service members on the flight deck of the USS Ronald Reagan, April 19, 2017. Credit: Reuters/Kim Kyung-Hoon

Tokyo: US vice president Mike Pence said on Wednesday, April 19, that Washington would work with its allies and China to put economic and diplomatic pressure on North Korea but added that America would defeat any attack with an “overwhelming response”.

Pence arrived in Tokyo on Tuesday, April 18, from South Korea and reassured Japan of US commitment to reining in North Korea‘s nuclear and missile ambitions in a series of meetings with Japanese leaders, including Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

Speaking aboard the USS Ronald Reagan, a Nimitz class aircraft carrier currently undergoing scheduled maintenance at its home port of Yokosuka, Pence said US intentions remained unwavering in the face of the threat posed by the reclusive North, which has conducted a series of missile and nuclear tests in defiance of UN sanctions, most recently with a failed missile launch on Sunday.

“Those who would challenge our resolve or readiness should know, we will defeat any attack and beat any use of conventional or nuclear weapons with an overwhelming and effective American response,” Pence said to loud applause, reiterating that all options are on the table in dealing with Pyongyang.

Pence made his remarks as the White House grappled with controversy over the location of the USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier strike group that US President Donald Trump said last week had been sent to near the Korean peninsula as a warning to North Korea, but which headed towards Australia instead.

Pence said he had spoken with Trump and by 2020 some 60% of the US naval fleet would be in the region and Japan’s role will grow.

“The United States will strengthen its presence in the Asia Pacific,” he said. “Japan will assume a larger role and responsibility in our alliance in the years ahead.”

North Korea regularly threatens to destroy Japan, South Korea and the US and it showed no let-up in its belligerence after the failed missile test on Sunday, a day after putting on a huge display of missiles at a parade in Pyongyang.

Pence also said the US would protect freedom of navigation and overflight in the South China Sea, where Beijing is entangled in territorial rows with several southeast Asia nations.

Pence arrived in Japan after visiting South Korea and leaves for Indonesia later on Wednesday.

(Reuters)